Your baby’s complexion, whether dark or fair, is determined by his genes – at the time of conception. Nothing you do now or did during pregnancy will have an effect on your baby’s complexion.
Try to remember that your child will be just as adorable and mean as much to you and to all those who love him whether he is dark or fair. So try not to worry about his skin colour, fairer skin does not necessarily mean more beautiful skin.
Newborn skin varies in appearance according to how many weeks pregnant you were when your baby was born. Premature babies have thin, transparent-looking skin and may be covered with lanugo, a fine, downy hair. They may also still be covered with vernix, a greasy white substance that protects skin from the amniotic fluid.
Full-term and late babies will have only a few traces of vernix in the folds of their skin. Late babies may also have a slightly wrinkly appearance and very little, if any, lanugo.
Babies are often born with fairly light and sometimes pinkish skin. The pink tint comes from the red blood vessels, which show through your newborn’s thin skin. Most parents assume that this is their baby’s skin colour. But often, a newborn’s skin darkens slightly as more of the natural pigment that gives it colour – melanin – is produced.
Your baby’s skin colour will vary over time as he grows. More melanin gets produced with exposure to the sun so you might find that as your child grows and spends more time playing outdoors, his skin gets slightly darker. In the months when outdoor play is not always possible, he might get fairer.
Do not restrict exposure to the sun out of concern for his skin colour. Once your baby is over six months old and starts to crawl and play outside, be sure to protect him well from sunburn and over-exposure to the sun, but outdoor play is very important for his developing eyesight and overall physical development.
Many mothers try to change their baby’s complexion by applying homemade pastes, ubtan or creams. These will not have an effect on your baby’s complexion and may even prove harmful for your baby.
Homemade pastes or ubtan
A paste of raw milk, fresh cream, gram flour (besan) and turmeric (haldi) is often made and applied to a baby during his massage. Raw milk can carry bacteria which cause diarrhoea, or infections like TB. Fresh cream tends to make the skin greasy and may cause rashes in the summer heat. Also, the coarse nature of gram flour and turmeric may cause slight scratches or rashes.
Some mothers apply lots of talcum powder on their babies to make them look fair. Not only will this not work, but using talcum powder on the face is not recommended as your baby can breathe in the small talc particles. Read more on how to use talcum powder safely.
It is not advisable to use any fairness creams on your baby. These creams may contain steroids and other chemicals that are meant for adult skin. Using them on your baby can cause rashes, allergies and even skin burns on his delicate skin.
It is important for your baby’s self esteem later in life that you accept your baby as he is. Once you do, you will realise how beautiful your baby is no matter what complexion he has.
Your baby’s skin may look red or flushed when he has a high temperature. Or he may have a slight bluish tinge on his hands and feet due to the cold. Some babies even turn blue, red or purple when they cry a lot. All these variations in colour are normal and temporary.
However, if the bluish tinge does not go away after a crying fit, or if your baby has a blue tinge all over his body, it may be a sign of breathing or blood circulation problems. Talk to your doctor right away.
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